NWCG reconfigures Incident Management Teams

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group has decided to make a major change in the configuration of Wildland Fire Incident Management Teams (IMTs). Saying “the current workforce management and succession planning for wildfire incident management is not sustainable”, the plan is for Type 1 Incident Management Teams and Type 2 Incident Management Teams to evolve into “Complex IMTs”.

Going forward the organization will be recognizing three levels of interagency wildland fire response: Initial Attack, Extended Attack, and Complex. As part of this transition, State and Federally sponsored Type 1 and Type 2 Wildland Fire IMTs will evolve into “Complex IMTs” utilizing current Type 1 standards as their guiding principles.

This change was a product of the Evolving Incident Management project which recommended a reduction in federally sponsored IMTs from the current 53 to 40, with State sponsored teams assisting with a national surge capacity. There is still a lot to be figured out, including transition plans, the distribution of IMTs across the Geographic Areas, and their capacity to sponsor and fill the positions on the teams.

The memo from the NWCG.


Thanks go out to Ken

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

5 thoughts on “NWCG reconfigures Incident Management Teams”

  1. Is this another case of “less is more” or will 40 actually be more effective than 53? Reading the project information doesn’t help.


  2. After seeing the inability of most areas to field complete Type 1 or Type 2 teams over the past few years, I can almost understand the need to reduce the number of teams. But, I disagree with combining the two Types of teams into one. This will reduce the available training for folks on the way up. I don’t agree with the concept at all.

      1. While there are currently 53 IMTs in the fold… a small percentage of those teams are trained at the Type I level of complexity/capabilities. This transition, while uncertainty exists in the implementation, will strive to expand the capabilities of all Complex Incident Management Teams, and still provides for the use of other resources (state, local ICS resources) to meet the surge capapbilities and to provide the types of flexibility intended within ICS.

  3. Hmmmm, very interesting. In Canada we face the same challenges trying to staff both type 1 & type 2 IMT’s. The British Columbia Wildfire Management program is also considering moving away from the current 4 type 1 IMT’s and 6 type 2 IMT’S, to blending both type 1 & type 2 IMT’s into one single IMT to deal with complex fires. Yes, I have mixed feelings with this possible change, however our current BC model with 10 IMT’s typed out either type 1 or type 2 is just simply not sustainable. Especially when one considers that most scored out type 1 incidents “generally” only last the first few days of the incident, before being downgraded to a type 2 or even a type 3 incident. Wait and see I guess !

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